It's tragic what happens to TV stars when the spotlight fades. Just ask Megan Mullally.
The very funny, very Emmy-nominated former star of "Will & Grace" has apparently decided that spending the rest of her life as "fondly remembered star of semi-iconic NBC sitcom" just isn't good enough. Instead, she's chosen to go down in history as "that lady from 'Will & Grace' who sings in a cheesy commercial for "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."
Yes, that really is Mullally singing the Vicki Sue Robinson disco classic "Turn the Beat Around," "reimagined" as "Turn the Tub Around." In a musical monstrosity choreographed by some dude who used to be on "So You Think You Can Dance."
Since popping up on TV ads in mid-November, the spot has prompted anguished cries of "Noooo!" and "Really?" and "Is that really her?" from media types who can't believe it's not some Megan Mullally look-alike. After all, this is a woman who's done Broadway, had her own talk show, won major awards — not some failed child actor (cough, Gary Coleman).
How loud has the backlash been?
A New York Post blogger wrote that the spots were "breaking my heart." Movieline resident wit Mark Lisanti tweeted, "Every time Megan Mullally turns the tub around, a cherub eats his butter-slathered wings."
Random consumers have also reacted violently to the Mullally spot, outraged by both her involvement in such a shameless shill — and the desecration of a 1970s hit.
A search of "Megan Mullally" on Twitter brings up tweets such as "Megan Mullally singing about butter makes me so sad" (@heyheyDRA) and "Dear God, why is this Megan Mullally butter commercial continuing to haunt my very existence? Make it go away!" (@michaellonger).
One blogger who subscribes to Dish Network even claims to have seen an entire channel turned over to the commercial in December. (His screed is here).
Not all the bloggerati are aghast, of course. TVSquad's Allison Waldman wrote that while she was initially "stunned" by the ad, "The more I think that the whole thing is hilarious. Megan, in my estimation, has her tongue firmly in cheek."
Um, maybe. But that doesn't make this spot any less annoying. Or tragic.
If the 30-second version running on TV isn't bad enough for you, the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" folks actually took the time to produce an extended version that clocks in at over two minutes. Plus, a behind the scenes featurette detailing the gory details of how Mullally chose to ruin her career (and real Not Butter executives patting themselves for how clever they are). And, we kid you not, a karaoke version that lets you sing along to lyrics such as "Turn the tub around/check each word and letter."
They're all below. Make sure to check out the "making of" video for a defense of the ad from Barry Sands, the senior brand manager for the "Not Butter," who considers the spot a public service.
"In the end it's all about helping the consumer making a better decision for her," he said. "This is something that's good for her and her family– and I feel good about that."